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Joost now open and free for everyone

Joost--the once private, and invite-only TV show service is now open to everyone.

If you haven't managed to snag one of the free beta tokens from another Joost user, today is your lucky day, because the service has launched version 1.0, and is free and open to anyone who wants to use it. The once-invite-only video content program is one of the few services we've seen since Google's Gmail to successfully use beta access to both intentionally control the scale of its user base and build up hype. It also doesn't hurt when it's created by the same duo that made Skype and Kazaa.

If you've been a loyal Joost user since the company rolled out its private beta last year, version 1.0 isn't a whole lot different from the latest build, however the newer "plastic" menus are much better looking than the contrastacular ones of yore. There's also a ton of content, which Joost pits somewhere above 150,000 shows, spanned across 250 or so "channels," including one with entire episodes of the original Transformers series.

There are, however, a few caveats that might slow your step toward downloading Joost. The first is for Mac users, who need a newer Intel machine to enjoy any programming--so that dual core G5 you have for Photoshop won't be able handle this. You also need a broadband connection, since all content is streamed, meaning you won't have access to any content while offline.

On a side note, for those of you looking to ditch your cable provider's on demand service and enjoy Joost programming in your living room, help is on the way. In an interview with NewTeeVee, Joost's CEO Mike Volpi noted that the the service and technology could be ported over to a set top box within the next 18 months, the company is just looking for partners and wants to get things working a little better first. Stay tuned.

CNET links: Joost (for Windows), Joost (for Intel Macs)

Looking for some TV shows and don't feel like downloading them? Check out Joost. Joost